We’re getting closer to WWE’s annual November tradition the Survivor Series, so today we’re taking a look back at another previous event! The 3rd annual Thanksgiving tradition the Survivor Series signifies more changes sweeping through the WWF as we head towards a new decade. Randy Savage is our new King after defeating Jim Duggan for the crown and Hulk Hogan is not involved in the main event for the first time in the WWF’s short pay-per-view history. That distinction would belong to the company’s fastest rising star, The Ultimate Warrior. New faces continue to blend in and get rubs from the established, while a legend in Tully Blanchard is quietly fired from the company, being forced to retire after a failed drug test. Our format is no longer 5 on 5, but now it’s 4 on 4 and the WWF has gotten rid of the dreaded 10 team match. So let’s head back to 1989, as the turn of the new decade is upon us!
Open: Hulk Hogan talks about what everyone is thankful for this year, stating that he’s mostly happy about Survivor Series and he’s thankful for his Hulkamaniacs. ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase is thankful because he’s rich. This continues with numerous WWF Superstars stating what they’re thankful for including ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage, Demolition, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and more. Vince McMahon voices over a graphic running down the card for the night before we head to the arena.
Match #1 Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Enforcers (Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, ‘The Model’ Rick Martel & The Honky Tonk Man) w/’Colonel’ Jimmy Hart & Slick vs. The Dream Team (Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake, Tito Santana, The Red Rooster & ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes)
Tito & Honky Tonk will get things going, Martel grabs at Santana and HTM takes advantage with a shot from behind. He sends Tito into the ropes, ducks his head, Santana leap frogs over and delivers a right hand, slamming Honky and dropping another fist. He grabs an armbar, HTM backs him into the ropes to force the break, Tito ducks his head now and eats a kick, Martel tagging in.
The Model with right hands, Santana blocks and gets a side headlock, pushed off into the ropes, back and forth they go and Martel scores with a dropkick. He goes for an atomic drop, Santana blocks it and hits one of his own, grabs a schoolboy and gains a count of 2, all the team members enter the ring to a stand-off. Order is restored, The Model & Tito tie-up, Santana with a hammerlock, Martel breaks it with an elbow, tag to Boss Man and he walks right into an armdrag. Dusty gets the tag, unloads on Boss Man with lefts and rights, grabs a wristlock and Boss Man unleashes heavy right hands. The American Dream reverses a whip into the corner, plants an elbow between the eyes and brings in Brutus.
The Barber comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe to the shoulder, Boss Man goes to the eyes, then tags out to Honky Tonk. He snapmares Beefcake over, misses a fist drop and The Barber with shots to the breadbasket. The Model reaches out for the tag, clubs Brutus from behind and splits him with a backbreaker for a count of 2. Martel with a side headlock, Beefcake counters out, tags The Rooster and he shoots The Model into the ropes for a back body drop that gets a 2 count. Rooster whips Martel into the corner, charges in and meets a knee, HTM off the tag with a big right and some dancing.
He drives The Rooster into the turnbuckle, Boss Man back in and he pummels The Rooster into the mat. Rooster exchanges right hands with Boss Man, comes up on the short end of it and Boss Man rips at the eyes. The Model re-enters the match, maintaining control with a snapmare and multiple knee drops for a near fall. Rooster sneaks in a small package for 2, Martel quickly tags out to Honky Tonk and they prevent the tag. HTM whips Rooster into the ropes, ducks down and Rooster with a sunset flip for a 2 count. Honky Tonk with right hands, Rooster comes back with some of his own, into the ropes they go and they collide heads, both men crawling to their corners.
Martel & Tito get tags, Martel sends Santana into the ropes, ducks down, Tito hops over and scores with multiple dropkicks. He slams The Model, comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow, then whips him into the corner for a back body drop off the rebound. Tito calls for the Figure Four, Martel grabs a handful of hair to counter out of it, slams Santana and misses an elbow drop. Tito pushes him into the ropes from behind, rolls through into a pinning predicament, The Model switches the momentum and gets a 3 count. Tito Santana has been eliminated.
Dusty enters the ring, they tie-up, Martel backs him in the corner and Rhodes fights his way out of it, then hits a dropkick. He drops the Bionic Elbow, but only gets a count of 2 before tagging in Brutus. He hammers away at the shoulder, brings in The Rooster and he goes to a side headlock. Martel pushes him into the ropes, drops down, Rooster stops and grabs the side headlock again, taking Martel over. The Model powers up, breaking the hold with a back suplex into a backbreaker, Boss Man enters the match, shoots The Rooster into the ropes and hits a back elbow.
He shoots him in again, locks in a bearhug, Rooster with headbutts to break it, bites the forehead and Boss Man tags Bad News for the first time. The Rooster slingshots him in off the apron, sends him into the ropes for a knee lift, then whips him in again and ducks his head. Brown sees it and clubs away, driving Rooster into the top turnbuckle and grinding the forearm in the face. Bad News with more stiff right hands, whips Rooster in and drops him with a knife-edge chop. Brown draws Dusty into the ring to get the ref’s attention, Bad News holds The Rooster, Boss Man comes in and hits the ropes for a right hand, but Rooster moves and Brown gets drilled.
Boss Man tries to explain what happened, but Brown’s not hearing it. They start shoving each other, Honky Tonk & Martel try to mediate and Bad News takes a walk, leaving the ring and getting counted out. Bad News Brown has been eliminated. Beefcake tags in, Boss Man stays in the ring, Boss Man backing Brutus into the corner, The Barber ducks a right hand and unloads with a series of his own. He shoots Boss Man into the corner, charges in and meets a back elbow, Honky Tonk tagging in. He meets The Barber with right hands, plants him with a back suplex and gain a count of 2, goes to the eyes and reigns down right hands from the 2nd rope in the corner.
Brutus starts to block right hands, fires back with some of his own, HTM goes to the eyes again, The Barber reverses a whip into the ropes, hits a high knee and covers for the pinfall. The Honky Tonk Man has been eliminated. The Model jumps Beefcake after the fall, unleashes a fury in the corner, then chokes him on the canvas before grabbing a rear chinlock. The Barber battles to his feet, hits the ropes and knocks Martel down with the shoulder, hits them again and meets a knee to the midsection. The Model with a backbreaker, Beefcake rolls to the apron and gets rammed head-first into the turnbuckle.
Brutus comes back with a knee to the midsection, sunset flip back in the ring, Martel drops down and grabs the ropes, the ref counts 2 and sees Martel is using the ropes. The Barber rolls The Model through into a cover and picks up the 3 count. ‘The Model’ Rick Martel has been eliminated. Boss Man is left by himself now, he ambushes Beefcake, but The Barber falls into a tag to The Rooster. Boss Man with a flurry of right hands in the corner, whips Rooster across and charges in for a splash, but misses. The Rooster hits the ropes for a flying forearm, hits them again for another and gets caught in a Boss Man Slam to get eliminated. The Red Rooster has been eliminated.
The American Dream steps in with right hands, tag to Beefcake for more heavy artillery, Boss Man reverses a whip into the ropes, ducks his head and takes a kick. Rhodes back in for more right hands, Boss Man goes to the eyes, shoots Dusty in and misses a clothesline, The Dream coming through on the other side with a crossbody, covers and gets the win.
Winners & Sole Survivors: Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake & ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes
- After The Bell: Slick hands the nightstick to Boss Man and he attacks Beefcake and Rhodes. The Barber gets dumped to the outside, Slick pulls out the cuffs and Boss Man handcuffs Dusty to the top rope. He takes out the referee, then continues to unload on The Dream, busting him open until Brutus hits the ring with his clippers. Sean Mooneycatches up with Boss Man & Slick in the back, Boss Man talking about how Dusty is a thief and now’s he is his prisoner. This is just the beginning. Slick states that Boss Man just showed what kind of a man he is, going 3 on 1 at the end of the match.
- EA’s Take: I already like the 4 on 4 format, it’s still a bit of a cluster, but better than the 5 on 5 deal. Dusty is way over and Boss Man’s attack and feud with Rhodes would legitimize him as a singles competitor. He gained great heat for the assault on The Dream, however it was all for not as his character would undergo a change of heart early in the new decade.
Backstage: Gene Okerlund is joined by The 4×4’s and their team captain ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. They all are carrying 2×4’s, Hitman says this is their finest hour. Ronnie Garvin has a personal score to settle with Greg Valentine, Hercules doesn’t foresee any problems. Duggan states his team is ready for anything and Randy Savage is in for a long night.
Match #2 Survivor Series Elimination Match: The King’s Court (‘Macho King’ Randy Savage, Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine, Dino Bravo & The Canadian Earthquake) w/Queen Sherri & ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The 4×4’s (‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Hercules)
Hacksaw chases Savage out of the ring, Macho is distracted by some fans at ringside, Duggan out after him with a big right hand, then tosses him inside where Hercules is waiting. Herc shoots Macho in for a clothesline, tosses him with a military press slam and Valentine gets the tag. They exchange shots, Hercules whips him into the ropes, ducks a shot and hits an atomic drop, then utilizes a wristlock. Hitman maintaining control of the arm off the tag, brings in Duggan and he drives The Hammer shoulder-first into the turnbuckles. Garvin enters the match with chops to the chest, sends Valentine into the ropes and locks in a sleeper hold.
The Hammer falls towards his corner to tag Dino, picks Garvin’s leg and The Canadian Strongman takes the advantage with stomps. He splits Garvin with an inverted atomic drop, lays him out with a right hand and goes for an elbow drop, but misses. Garvin gets the tag to Herc, entering the squared circles with heavy rights and lefts, hits the ropes for a knee lift and levels Bravo with multiple clotheslines. Dino reverses a whip into the corner, Hercules falls flat after hitting the turnbuckles sternum-first, Earthquake gets the tag and connects with the Earthquake Splash to get a 3 count. Hercules has been eliminated. Duggan takes the ring, locking up with Earthquake and getting backed into the ropes. Quake whips him into the ropes, Hacksaw ducks a clothesline and collides shoulders with the big man.
Duggan hits the ropes again for a shoulder that has no affect, tries once more and Hitman comes in to help take Earthquake off his feet. Rugged Ronnie back in to drop stiff right hands, falls on top and gets a count of 2. Earthquake is able to tag Dino, shoots Garvin in and hits a boot to the midsection before bringing in The Hammer. Valentine dropping a forearm and then a knee for 2, then a headbutt to the midsection. He looks to put on the Figure Four, Garvin kicks him off into the turnbuckles, grabs a schoolboy and gains a near fall. The Hammer is able to prevent the tag, Savage comes in off the top with a double axe handle, following with a knee drop for a 2 count and tagging out to Dino.
The Canadian Strongman pummels Rugged Ronnie to the mat, attempts a snapmare and Garvin counters into a backslide for a near fall. Macho back in the match, unloading with left hands in the corner, Valentine enters with stiff chops and Garvin responds with some of his own. Valentine goes to the midsection, Duggan with a blind tag, Rugged Ronnie reverses an irish whip into the ropes, misses a clothesline, but Hacksaw is behind him in the 3 point stance, flattening The Hammer with a clothesline and getting the 1-2-3. Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine has been eliminated. Bravo jumps Hacksaw from behind, pounding away with right hands and choking in the corner. Macho King comes in, hanging Duggan throat-first on the top rope and covering for a 2 count.
Earthquake back in, unloading on Hacksaw in the corner, slams him and hits the ropes for an elbow drop, Duggan rolling out of the way. Garvin gets the tag, Dino in on the other side and Rugged Ronnie with chops and a headbutt for him. He unleashes the Garvin Stomp on Dino, looks for a sharpshooter and Bravo goes to the eyes to escape, making the tag to Savage. Hitman gets the tag across the ring, Macho goes to the eyes, tries to ram Bret into the turnbuckles, Hitman countering and giving Savage a taste of his own medicine. Bret with an inverted atomic drop, stomps at the midsection and Macho King squirms to his corner to tag Dino. Collar & elbow tie-up, Hitman backs Bravo into his corner, snapmares him over and drops an elbow from the 2nd rope for a count of 2.
Rugged Ronnie gets the tag, Bravo reverses an irish whip into the ropes, catches Garvin with the Side Slam and that’s all for him. ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin has been eliminated. Hacksaw steps in after the elimination, Earthquake enters the ring, Duggan backs him into the corner and reigns down right hands from the 2nd rope. Hitman off the tag, they drop Quake with a double team clothesline and he smartly tags out to Macho King. Savage gets too close to the wrong corner, Duggan grabs him and makes him eat some right hands, Bret taking advantage, shooting Macho in and burying a boot to the breadbasket. Savage gets tied-up in the ropes, Hitman distracting the ref and Hacksaw chokes Savage behind the ref’s back.
The referee unties Macho King, he goes to the eyes of Hitman, snapmares him over for a knee drop and misses. Bret splits Macho with a backbreaker for a 2 count, then puts him in a small package for another 2. Savage reverses a whip into the corner, charges in and meets an uppercut, Hitman to the 2nd rope for an elbow drop and Macho King rolls away. He crawls to tag Bravo, Dino slamming Bret and hitting an elbow drop, then utilizes a bearhug. Bret goes to the eyes to break it, but immediately gets dropped and Quake tags in, lifting Hitman in a choke and planting him into the canvas. Earthquake drops an elbow for a near fall, The Canadian Strongman back in, goes for an irish whip and Bret stops it with a right hand, but can’t take advantage.
Dino backs Bret into the corner, pummeling away before bringing Macho in, Bravo holds Hitman from the apron, Savage hits the ropes for a jumping knee and Bret avoids it, Dino taking it in the face and getting dropped on the apron. Hacksaw gets the hot tag, flattening Savage with clotheslines, slams him and tries to follow with an elbow drop, but misses. Savage backs Duggan into the wrong corner, Bret tags himself in and gets caught by the hair, then driven into Bravo’s boot on the apron. Dino tags in, Bret reverses a whip into the corner, rushes in and Bravo side-steps it, Hitman ramming his shoulder into the ring post.
The Canadian Strongman lands a shoulder breaker, tag to Macho King, he scales the corner and connects with the top rope elbow drop for the pinfall. Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart has been eliminated. Duggan is left all alone with a 3 on 1 disadvantage. Earthquake tags in, locking up with Hacksaw and backing him in the corner, unloading with knees to the midsection and clubbing shots. Quake gets a head of steam for a corner splash, Duggan avoids it, sees Savage coming in off the top rope and buries a right hand to the midsection. Dino hits the ring and gets back body dropped, Hacksaw ramming both of them into Earthquake and clearing the ring by himself. Order is restored, Savage steps in and goes to the eyes, Bravo enters for a double team attempt, Hacksaw with a double clothesline of his own, but then gets leveled by Earthquake from behind, as he was the legal man.
He punishes Duggan with clubbing shots, slams him and drops an elbow for a near fall. Dino in legally now, shoots Duggan in for a boot to the breadbasket, then brings in Macho for a double axe off the top and a 2 count. Macho King looks for a running senton on the 2nd rope, Hacksaw avoids it, fires a right hand and hits an atomic drop. Dino comes in to distract the ref, Duggan hits the ropes and Sherri pulls them down, causing Hacksaw to fall out to the floor. Quake drops a double axe from the apron behind the ref’s back, the referee turns around and counts to 10.
Winners & Sole Survivors: ‘Macho King’ Randy Savage, Dino Bravo & The Canadian Earthquake
- After The Bell: Hacksaw grabs his 2×4, clobbering Dino Bravo and Macho King from behind while they’re celebrating.
- EA’s Take: The big takeaway from this contest was how much crisper and cleaner it felt, which should come as no surprise with Randy Savage as a participant, known for his attention and overanalyzation of his matches. Canadian Earthquake is a brand-new face in the WWF, taking the place of Barry Windham (who had just returned to the NWA) as a member of Savage’s team. Quake is a former sumo star that was brought in (kayfabe) by Dino Bravo. His size and agility would make him a top contender very quickly. Also, you’ll notice that Bret Hart is not paired with The Anvil tonight, as WWF was looking at Bret as a singles star for the first time. The run would be short-lived, but Hitman would earn high praise from the likes of Andre The Giant and others, something the company would not forget in a couple years time.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is outside the medical room for an update on Dusty Rhodes. Talk right now is that there’s possibly bruised ribs and a concussion.
In The Arena: The Genius blesses us with a special Thanksgiving poem, telling the fans they should give thanks for him being the world’s smartest man.
Match #3 Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Million Dollar Team (‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase, The Powers Of Pain (The Barbarian & The Warlord) & Zeus) w/Mr. Fuji vs. The Hulkamaniacs (Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax & Smash) & WWF Champion Hulk Hogan)
Roberts & Zeus kick off the action, Zeus wants Hogan instead and the champion gets the tag. There’s pushing and shoving, Hulk hits the ropes for a shoulder knockdown and falls to the canvas himself. Hogan tries a new strategy, hitting boots and right hands, hits the ropes for a clothesline, then a high knee and none of it has any affect. Hulkster with more right hands and a slam, Zeus hops right back to his feet, Hogan hits the ropes again and Smash with a cheap shot from the apron.
Zeus twists the champion’s neck, choking him on the mat and then shoving the referee away for trying to break the choke. He won’t let go of it, shoves the ref again and gets himself disqualified. Zeus has been eliminated. The Million Dollar Team finally gets Zeus off of Hogan, getting him to make his exit after leaving Hulk laying. DiBiase takes the ring, dropping knees on the champion and choking him on the 2nd rope, then the top. MDM drives Hogan into the top turnbuckle, firing away with right hands and chops in the corner, whips him across and charges in, meeting the champion’s boot. Roberts gets the tag and DiBiase tries to back off, The Snake unloading with lefts and rights in the corner, shoots MDM across hard into the turnbuckles and clotheslines him to the outside.
The Snake follows him out, MDM looks to ram him into the ring post, but gets pushed off and meets the steel himself. Back inside Jake tags to Ax, pummeling DiBiase into the canvas with clubbing shots and bringing in Smash for more of the same. Smash rams DiBiase into the turnbuckle, tag to Hogan and he comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle, then pounds MDM into the mat along with Demolition. The champion with heavy rights, whips DiBiase into the corner and follows in with a back elbow before bringing Ax back. He sends MDM into the ropes for a clothesline that gets a 2 count, shoots DiBiase in again for another, MDM ducks it and lays Ax out with a back elbow.
Warlord gets the tag, clubbing away at Ax, tag to Barbarian now and he drives a headbutt into the ribs. He hoists Ax for a shoulder breaker, climbs to the 2nd rope for an elbow drop, but misses. Barbarian reaches Warlord to prevent Ax from tagging out, sends him into the corner, charges in and Ax with a back elbow, following out of the corner with a clothesline. He hits the ropes, Fuji trips him and Warlord drops an elbow, covers and gets the elimination. Ax has been eliminated.
Smash jumps right in and pounds away at the back of the Warlord, shoots him into the ropes and buries a right hand to the midsection. Hulkster tags in, more right hands, whips Warlord into the ropes for a clothesline, then slams him and brings in Jake. The Snake goes to a wristlock, ducking Warlord’s right hands and quick tags out to Smash, maintaining control with a wristlock. Warlord breaks it with a right, sends him into the ropes, drops down and Smash stops, clubbing at Warlord’s back. Smash goes for a backbreaker, Warlord avoids it with a thumb to the eye and tags his partner Barbarian.
He sends Smash into the ropes, ducks his head and Smash sees it dropping a forearm. Barbarian looks for a boot, Smash catches the foot, drops Barbarian to the mat, but misses a follow-up elbow drop. The Barbarian drops Smash with a big boot, tag to DiBiase who comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle, hitting multiple fist drops for a count of 2. The MDM goes to a chinlock to wear him out, Smash fights to a vertical base, DiBiase goes to the eyes and slams him. MDM attempts a falling back elbow from the 2nd rope, Smash rolls out of the way, whips DiBiase into the ropes, Barbarian with a blind tag as MDM gets hung across the top rope.
Barbarian comes off the top with a clothesline, covers Smash and gets a 3 count. Smash has been eliminated. The Snake is quick to come in and drop Barbarian with right hands, calls for the DDT and Barbarian counters out, then misses an elbow drop. Roberts wants the DDT again, Barbarian powers him backwards into his corner, Warlord makes the tag and whips Jake hard into the turnbuckles, then again. Barbarian back in off the tag, following Warlord’s lead with a hard irish whip, drops a headbutt to the lower back and splits The Snake with a backbreaker. Warlord re-enters, another hard whip into the corner and DiBiase wants some, delivering a cheap shot to Hogan, which allows a double team on the other side of the ring.
MDM drops knees to Roberts’ back, spikes him with a piledriver, but Jake gets a foot on the bottom rope to break the count at 2. Barbarian back in to drop another headbutt to the midsection, scales the corner to the top rope and misses a diving headbutt. Roberts crawls to a tag, Hogan unleashing right hands on everybody, shoots Barbarian into the ropes for a clothesline and follows with multiple elbow drops for a 2 count. Hulkster with a vertical suplex for another 2, MDM distracts the ref, allowing Warlord to come in and double team Hogan. Powers Of Pain send Hulk into the ropes, Hogan counters with a double clothesline, but the double team continues.
The Powers Of Pain plant the champion with a spike piledriver, the ref disqualifying them for not leaving the ring. The Warlord & The Barbarian have been eliminated. The Million Dollar Man is left by himself now, but Roberts and Hogan are both laid out. DiBiase drives knees into the spine of the champion, then slaps on The Million Dollar Dream, taking Hulk down to the mat as he fades out. The ref checks the arm, The Snake comes in to make the save, DiBiase breaking the hold and going right back to it. The champion backs MDM into the corner to break the hold, DiBiase to the 2nd rope and gets caught coming down with a right hand to the breadbasket.
Roberts gets the tag, lefts and rights in the corner, shoots DiBiase across and hits a back body drop off the rebound. The Snake hangs MDM on the top rope, drives a series of knees to the back of the head and flattens him with a short-arm clothesline. Jake calls for the DDT, Virgil runs down to ringside and hops on the apron to create a distraction, Roberts pulls him into the ring and spikes him with a DDT. DiBiase takes advantage with a fist drop, covers, using the ropes for leverage and he gets the 1-2-3. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts has been eliminated.
We’re down to one on one now with Hogan laid out on the apron, DiBiase rolling Virgil out of the ring and punishing the champion with knees to the back. MDM sends Hulk into the ropes and levels him with a clothesline for a count of 2, then utilizes a rear chinlock. The Hulkster battles to his feet, breaks the hold with elbows to the ribs, hits the ropes and scores with a shoulder knockdown. Back into the ropes, MDM drops down and they both go down after a double clothesline.
They struggle to their feet, Hulk goes for an atomic drop, DiBiase counters and plants him with a back suplex. It has no affect on the champion, he unloads with right hands, shoots DiBiase in for the big boot, following with the leg drop to finish it.
Winner & Sole Survivor: Hulk Hogan
- EA’s Take: A lot of big, sluggish brutes in this one, Zeus being eliminated super early because the guy can’t work a match to save his life. Demolition and The Powers Of Pain don’t exactly have the most technical offenses either, although The Barbarian can put a little bit together. This would serve as the finale for the rivalry between Jake Roberts & Ted DiBiase, but unfortunately it wouldn’t be for Zeus & Hogan. They’d meet one more time in a television special that saw a SummerSlam rematch, but this time in a steel cage in which Hogan & Beefcake were victorious. Zeus would leave the WWF and head back to Hollywood, which is where he should have stayed in the first place.
Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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